Study and Service: Improve your GPA and make an impact

Kaya Study and Service projects give you the perfect balance of in-class and hands-on learning. While studying you can choose a volunteer or internship project to complement your learning. This will allow you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and make an impact in the communities and environments you visit.

 

Christina’s Study and Service Experience

 

“Studying and doing volunteer work in a developing country was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.

When you study abroad, there’s a certain portion of the experience that is supposed to be focused on your classes. Of course, students want to do well to receive their credits and boost their university GPA. There is, however, an unparalleled amount of cultural integration that occurs when you participate in a study and service program, especially in an underdeveloped world. It allows you to understand local culture and provides you with renewed perspectives in a way that far surpasses anything a class, museum or guided tour can teach you.

My study and service experience went something like this: While I sat through Spanish courses in the mornings and busied myself at night with homework, my real learning occurred each afternoon. I would travel by bus and see the clean streets of my colonial city turn into the dirt roads of an impoverished pueblo nearby.

Though the location of my volunteering was foreboding, it gave me an authentic view of how the majority of Latin Americans live. I also learned that the look of a town in no way speaks to the character of its residents. While volunteering with 2nd and 3rd grade students at their after-school program I was extended an amazing amount of kindness and love.

Though I was still struggling with my Spanish speaking skills, I was forced to practice in a way I had never been tested before. The students’ rapid-fire speech and constant barrage of questions left me drained. The kids were so excited to have me there that they pushed on through the language barrier and created new ways for us to connect. We did piggyback rides, spinning contests, and made up secret handshakes.

After 5 weeks my classes were complete and grades were being transferred to my university. In my last visit to my volunteer placement, I was surprised by mine and my students’ genuine sadness for my departure. In tearful Spanish (that I understood!) they said goodbye, wished me well and described how much they would miss me.

Studying abroad allowed me to live in another culture and boost my GPA. Being able to volunteer, however, got me outside the “tourist bubble”; it vastly improved my language skills and my understanding of the local people. Being in a developing country, in addition to being a cheaper option, opened my eyes to real struggles and put my own fortunate life into perspective. This experience proved for me how important it is to travel responsibly, contribute to local empowering projects and become educated global citizens.”

If you are looking to boost your GPA and your resume this year with a study and service project we can help.

Check out all of our Study Abroad options or speak to a placement advisor today.

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